Washington (April 23, 2021) –Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today reintroduced the Block All New (BAN) Oil Exports Act, legislation to amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act and reinstate the ban on exporting American crude oil and natural gas abroad. The legislation helps prioritize American consumers, protect the climate, promote environmental justice, and encourage the United States to establish self-sufficiency with our energy production. U.S. crude oil exports reached a peak monthly average of 3.7 million barrels per day in February 2020, and remain near three million barrels per day on average in 2021.
“We cannot continue to fuel the global climate crisis at the expense of American communities burdened by fossil fuel pollution,” said Senator Markey, Chair of the Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety. “Reinstating the oil export ban would protect American consumers, rather than pumping up Big Oil’s profits. As we continue to work toward a Green New Deal and deliver environmental justice for all, we need to put an end to our nation’s oil and gas addiction and stop throwing fossil fuel on the climate fire.”
“Oregonians watched in horror as last year’s catastrophic wildfire season claimed lives, destroyed homes and businesses, and leveled entire communities. The disturbing truth is that unless we tackle climate chaos—and rein in the fossil fuel pollution that is driving the crisis in the first place—things are only going to get worse,” said Senator Merkley, member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the Senate Environmental Justice Caucus. “If we want to live in a country where every human being has the chance to be safe, healthy, and thrive, we’ve got to deliver bold climate action that transitions us away from fossil fuels, and stop exporting oil.”
“Right now, the United States imports and exports millions of barrels of oil a day, perpetuating a merry-go-round of oil dependence,” said Senator Wyden. “Instead of propping up Big Oil, it’s time America makes the switch to a clean energy future, kicking our carbon habit to the curb.”
“When it comes to oil companies profiting off the destruction of our planet, enough is enough,” said Senator Sanders. “The United States has got to show the world that we are serious about addressing climate change and we must act now if we’re going to leave this country and the entire planet healthy and habitable for our kids and our grandkids.”
A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.
In addition to Senators Merkley, Wyden, and Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is also an original co-sponsor of the legislation in the Senate.
The omnibus spending bill enacted into law in December 2015 lifted the 40-year old ban that restricted exporting U.S. oil overseas. Since the ban was lifted, historic amounts of U.S. oil have gone to foreign nations.
Endorsers of this legislation include Earthworks, Food and Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Global Witness, Greenpeace USA, Oil Change International, Sierra Club, Texas Campaign for the Environment, Turtle Island Restoration Network, and over 100 grassroots organizations.
“We shouldn't be ruining our climate and poisoning our communities so oil companies can profit from exports,” said Earthworks Policy Director Lauren Pagel. “Senator Markey's bill would put the public first.”
“Drilling for fossil fuels is a deadly business that pollutes our communities and poisons our water. Instead of exporting oil, gas, and even more dangerous pollution overseas, we should wind down fossil fuel production here at home,” said Nicole Ghio, Senior Fossil Fuels Program Manager for Friends of the Earth. “Senator Markey's Block All New (BAN) Oil Exports Act will help us break the cycle of fossil fuel dependence.”
“It's simple: the US has no credibility as a global climate leader while flooding the world with climate-wrecking fossil fuels. Oil and gas exports harm and pollute our communities at every step of the way—all for corporate profit. Amid all this destruction, they open the door to a massive expansion of fossil fuels that is just not compatible with Paris climate goals,” said Zorka Milin, Senior Advisor at Global Witness. “We welcome Senator Markey’s BAN Oil Exports Act as a key step in protecting communities from climate catastrophe.”